Last Saturday the Nick Dudiak Lagoon was opened to snagging at noon and the weather was perfect for it. The coho cruising around inside were expecting a fresh influx of seawater to arrive soon but instead were blitzed by honkin’ hook set-ups featuring everything from dipstick pieces of yarn to weighted treble hooks large enough to annoy an orca.
Coolers were topped off and gear cross-tangled as line flingers whaled at the water with everything from Wal-Mart retractable rods to one elongated rig that looked suspiciously like a recycled stadium flag pole.
There were beautiful fish taken along with several so small that they went airborne after being nailed in the keister and took ungainly headers into the rocks or nearby inattentive schlubs with rectal fields of vision.
Fishermen with solid techniques found it rather easy to limit out within less than an hour while others were more of a threat to the personal body orifices of neighboring hurlers than the coho.
Tom, the self-professed mayor of the lagoon and governor of all things fishy therein, reported that he counted “238 plus people before rodeo started. They took 238 fish in the first 140 minutes and as of this morning (Aug. 13) my counts over about 3 hours and 20 minutes is 332 fish. They were still taking a fish every 3-4 minutes. Total catch is anybody’s guess but is probably 6-700 plus.” That was four days ago.
Sounds to me like the serious fisherpersonages have been dragging in some significant winter meat out there.
Needless to say, as that first day wore on, the cleaning tables were busy with flashing blades, pontificating piscatorians, and more than a few without a clue on how to process a fish.
There were finely finessed slabs bagged for future vacuum packing stacked alongside piles of salmon-colored gruel that would have made a starving cat opt for bowl of steamed turnip greens with limp kale on the side.
It was also a great day for those malfeasant members of the midnight snaggers who no longer needed to scurry and skulk around in the murk and could finally sleep in. Although, come to think of it, they are probably hyper-bent because they, along with the talentless tight-lining crews, are now inadvertently following the regs and that fact alone is enough to put a major crimp in their tighty-whities.
Now it’s time to take a look at the week of Aug. 13 to 19.
Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon Emergency Order
Per Emergency Order No. 2-SS-7-53-18, effective Saturday, Aug. 11, the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon and adjacent waters except for the Homer Boat Harbor opened to snagging.
The Kachemak Bay Coho Salmon Gillnet Fishery opens Aug. 16. Open periods are 6 a.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Wednesday and 6 a.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Saturday. The fishery closes when 1,000-2,000 coho salmon have been harvested. Permits are available at the Homer Alaska Department of Fish and Game office until the fishery closes.
The Anchor River, Ninilchik River, Deep Creek, and Stariski Creek remain open to fishing for Dolly Varden and steelhead/rainbow trout upstream of the two-mile markers. Steelhead/rainbow trout may never be removed from the water and must be immediately released. You may not fish for salmon upstream of the two-mile markers.
The lower portions of the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Stariski Creek are open to sport fishing except for kings.
Kings may not be hunted and, if hooked, they must be released immediately. The bag and possession limit for other salmon is three per day, three in possession — only two per day, two in possession may be coho.
On the Anchor River, Ninilchik River, Deep Creek, and Stariski Creek, bait and treble hooks are legal gear through Aug. 31.
Anglers are allowed to snag fish in Kachemak Bay east of a line from Anchor Point to Point Pogibshi including the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon (Fishing Hole), which opened to snagging by emergency order.
Lingcod season is open. The bag and possession limit is two fish and the minimum legal size is 35 inches with the head attached or 28 inches from tip of tail to front of the dorsal fin with the head removed for reasons including that it’s flat creepy.
Lingcod which are gaffed must be retained. A gaff may not be used to puncture any fish intended or required to be released.
The marine waters of Tutka Bay Lagoon within 100 yards of the hatchery net pens are closed to sport fishing for any species.
Some nasty weather hampered halibut safaris on both ends of last week, but many of the boats that made it out on nicer days were able to return with flats. Most of the halibut brought back were on the smallish size. Productive areas for the ’buts were in the usual spots out in the inlet, including areas near Flat Island, Diamond Creek, and various points in the inner bay.
Active haunts for feeder kings continue to move around the bay. Chinooks were found hanging around customary spots such as Flat Island, Silver Ridge, and areas between Bluff Point and Anchor Point. The kings were mixed in with arriving silvers. Pinks have been commonly picked up too, as if anybody cares.
The feeder blackmouths prefer cruising a variety of depths up to 100 feet near rocky points and kelp beds. As always look for sky rats hitting the water chasing after bait fish.
As previously mentioned, The Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon is open to snagging for silvers. The Homer Boat Harbor is excluded from this emergency order and snagging is not allowed within its confines. Watch for schools of coho circling the lagoon or swimming near the mouth.
Trolling for silvers in the Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay’s inner waters along with areas near the Homer Spit has provided some nice action. Coho will strike most of the lure set-ups that a chinook will. Try thin bladed spoons or herring in a head clip behind a flasher.
Anglers are also nailing coho from shore at high tide along the Homer Spit north of the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. Make sure to respect private property in this area.
There is a superfluity (plethora) (mucho bunch) of pink salmon in Tutka Bay Lagoon. This is a stocked fishery paid for by enhancement taxes on commercial fisheries so show some respect and avoid commercial boats operating in the area.
Private and charter vessels have returned to the Homer Harbor with combos of potential mouthwatering halibut, lingcod, and rockfish. Boats targeting lingcod continue to travel “around the corner”’ to areas near the Chugach Islands.
More nonpelagic rockfish species have been caught in waters near Chugach and Perl islands.
The most popular places to focus on pelagic rockfish in Kachemak Bay are near Bluff Point and Point Pogibshi.
Razor Clam Emergency Order
Per Emergency Order No.2-RCL-7-01-18 and 2-RCL-07-02-18 all eastside Cook Inlet beaches from the Kenai River to the tip of the Homer Spit are closed to all clamming through Dec. 31, 2018.
Aug. 14 was the last clamming tide in August. There will be a series of small negative tides beginning Aug. 26.
Other Saltwater Fishing
Don’t forget that fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be a laid-back way to wet a line if you aren’t too persnickety about what you haul on shore.
The edibles include walleye pollock, Pacific cod, dollies and a few flatfish that won’t turn into something resembling Elmer’s Glue when tossed into a frying pan. Heck you might even get a shot at a silver.
Silver fishing has been fair to kickin’ and should continue to be decent in the streams on the lower Kenai Peninsula.
Eggs have been working well on the Anchor River or you can fire herring, artificial flies and flashy spinners at your quarry. Try hitting the incoming tides near the river mouths of the Ninilchik River, Deep Creek, or Anchor River. Silvers love to hunt around the break of dawn.
Fishing for Dolly Varden above the two-mile markers has been fair to good. Most dollies appear to have passed the weirs on Deep Creek and Anchor River. Fly fisherman are most successful with beads and streamers. Small spinners and spoons utilized on spinning gear will evoke hits.
Most of the Kenai Peninsula stocked lakes have been stocked with rainbow trout. Fishing conditions should be good. Try fishing with dry or wet flies, small spoons, spinners, or bait. The 2018 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet contains a current list of lakes and the species they’re stocked with.
Nick can be reached at email@example.com if he isn’t out pacing a beach somewhere waiting to see what’s left after the Kachemak Bay Coho Salmon Gillnet Fishery closes.